Data Shows the Alliance Network Driving Equity More than Ever: Here’s Why

Thursday 30th March 2023

In 2021, women comprised 45 percent of customers served across our network—the nearest to parity since the Alliance began collecting member data in 2014. Indeed, the new “Measuring the Value of the Female Economy” report shows the network seeing stronger performance on key indicators for serving women.

And members see strong results from women customers. Women continue to be reliable borrowers, with lower non-performing loan rates compared to men men. They’re also loyal customers, with more average products per customer across all business banking segments.

These metrics are particularly convincing considering the many exogenous pressures FSPs of all stripes are currently facing, which underscore that serving the women’s market is critical to building resilience and sustainability into the bottom line.

A deeper look at the data reveals useful insights into how FSPs can sustain momentum and realize more potential in the female economy. Here are five takeaways from the new report:

  1. Digital financial services (DFS) are enabling women’s financial inclusion: Across the network, women accounted for 46 percent of all DFS users, 47 percent of payments users and 33 percent of borrowers through digital channels. This demonstrates the importance of DFS to accelerate the path to parity.
  2. Fintechs are seeing strong results with women: Across the retail banking, micro and SME segments, fintech members had higher percentages of female customers than incumbent members. This illustrates why designing sales funnels with a gender lens is key to success with the women’s market.
  3. Women’s loan sizes and deposit balances have also increased relative to men’s: In 2021, women’s average deposit sizes climbed to an all-time high of 84 percent of men’s. Women’s average loan sizes were 76 percent of men’s; slightly lower than the record high of 80 percent seen in 2020, but still well above years past. These results show the impact women’s markets programs are having on product usage.
  4. Holistic value propositions for women entrepreneurs are proving effective: In 2021, both fintechs and incumbent banks reached greater numbers of women-led SMEs and corporates with higher lending volumes also. These increases are in part driven by the provision of non-financial services (NFS): 71 percent of all Alliance members and 85 percent of incumbent bank members provide NFS to holistically support women’s financial wellness and success.
  5. The Alliance network continues to outpace the industry in terms of women in leadership—but must take action to balance the talent pipeline: Women are now better represented on boards in the network than ever before, due in large part to Alliance members in Sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, women’s representation in management roles has decreased since 2020, showing the need for FSPs to double down on building the pipeline of women senior leaders and maintain focus on hitting D&I targets at all levels of their organizations.

These are only a few of the many valuable insights highlighted in our 2021 Measuring the Value of the Female Economy report. Read more to learn how your institution can develop successful women-centered strategies and accelerate the path to equity.